Consumer consent and data privacy
24 March 2015, Cătălina Ciontu, Senior Communications Executive
According to Which?, the calls, which were related to debt and PPI, were made anonymously and without consumer consent. The consumers were not able to opt out of the calls, which is clearly unacceptable. At the same time, the Government has just announced a £3.5 million funding package to look at ways of protecting vulnerable people from nuisance calls. (paragraph 2.289 on page 100)
The underlying issue is the right of consumers to have their personal data and privacy protected. The ICO raid was on a UK call centre targeting UK consumers. The UK’s data protection legislation also covers the situation where data crosses national boundaries and implements EU Directives as well as UK national legislation.
At the moment the EU officials are still discussing a proposed new EU General Data Protection Regulation that is expected to be revised by June 2015 and would bring in higher levels of protection of consumer data.
We appreciate that companies want to use data to be able to offer new and innovative services that consumers value. There is a balance to be struck between data use for these purposes and strong consumer protection although we argue that it is that strong protection that gives people confidence to use PRS services and ultimately helps the market to thrive.
While we strongly support the development of a healthy and innovative market, consumer rights and protecting the consumer’s privacy is central to our regulation, we expect businesses to be able to provide a robust method of verifying consumer consent to charging and marketing to a mobile device. If you want to find out more please see PhonepayPlus’ complete guidance on privacy and consent to charge.